JNU organizes two day webinar on 'Safe Spaces for Children'

Organised with support of ICSSR, the program brought together academic experts, activists and civil society members to discuss pertinent issues and experiences of children, especially in view of COVID

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Representative Image
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Amitabh Srivastava

With experts warning that the third wave of the pandemic would be most dangerous for children, a two day webinar organised by JNU on 'Safe Spaces for children: Revisiting Child Protection System in India' was organized which ended on Monday.

Organised with the support of ICSSR, the program brought together academic experts, activists and civil society members to discuss pertinent issues and experiences of children, especially in view of COVID-19 and to map the way forward to ensure the safety and holistic development of children.

The webinar began on May 20 with an introduction by Dr. Sunita Reddy, Associate Professor Centre of Social Medicine & Community Health, School of Social Sciences.

The session was chaired by Amod Kanth, founder general secretary of Prayas, who described how Prayas had been helping children through the pandemic by setting up isolation centres and procuring oxygen concentrators for its children and getting all children in its homes tested for COVID.

He described how Prayas had, through the last 32 years, played a significant role in resolving issues related to different types of abuses faced by children, though much remained to be done.

Prof. Bula Bhadra ,Prof. and Head, Department of Sociology, Sister Nivedita University, emphasized on the need to acknowledge and analyze the

existence of multiple and varied experiences of childhood as opposed to the colonized understanding of the same.


Amitabh Srivastava, senior journalist and head, media and communication at Prayas, described how Prayas had taken a lead in formalising almost all legislations about child rights in India. He also highlighted several loose threads that had been left hanging and how the media had many times created monsters out of minor aberrations of juveniles, giving the government an opportunity to create harsh laws which go against international conventions.

Dr Aadil Bashir, Asst. Prof., Dept. of Social work, University of Kashmir and Nasir Rahim, Dept. Of Social Work, Kashmir University highlighted the specific situation of children with regard to Kashmir.

The second day session was chaired by Dr. Anjaiah Pandiri, Executive Director, Childline India Foundation.

The first speake, Ms Anuradha Vidyasanskar from Childline, explained the functioning of child helpline numbers, followed by Prof Santosh Kumar, from National Institute Of Disaster Management, who highlighted his firsthand experiences with children in areas hit by natural calamities.

Dr Biswajit Ghosh, Prof. Sociology, University of Burdwan, analysed their vulnerabilities amidst reports of trafficking of children in India amidst calamities including the ongoing pandemic.

Dr. Renu Shah, Asst. Prof., Department Of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan Mumbai, and Dr Sangita Gaur, Consultant, Kailash Satyarthi Foundation, New Delhi ended the session with a joint presentation on child protection.

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